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Pro14

Leinster Demolish Ospreys in RDS Masterclass

Leinster have made it two wins from two at the start of the PRO14 season with another impressive performance

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(Photo By Seb Daly/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster have hammered the Ospreys  53-5 tonight in what was a dominant performance by the reigning back to back champions at the RDS. 

It was the Blues first home and they made no mistake in ensuring the bonus-point with a hat-trick of tries from Ronan Kelleher along with further tries from Fergus McFadden, Joe Tomane, Max Deegan, Harry Byrne and Michael Milne sealing a comfortable win for the hosts. 

Leinster registered the first points of the night from the boot of Ross Byrne, who knocked over a fourth minute penalty. 

Byrne was at the centre of the hosts opening try as Leinster broke into the Ospreys 22-metre line and with a penalty advantage behind them, the fly-half sent a perfect cross-field kick over to McFadden who simply had to catch the ball and put the ball down over the whitewash. Byrne couldn’t add the kick from the touchline but it was 8-0 with 11 minutes gone. 

Four minutes later and they were in for their second try as back-row Will Connors broke through the Ospreys’ defence before passing to Kelleher just before being tackled. From there Kelleher showed some incredible pace for a hooker to score his first try for the province. Byrne made no mistake from the tee and suddenly it was 15-0. 

It took time but after some sustained Leinster pressure were over once again on 34 minutes as centre Tomane finished off a number of phases close to the opposition line by barging over the line. Byrne again added the extras to stretch the lead out to 22-0. 

That’s how they went in at the half-time whistle with the boys in blue looking in full control heading into the second period. 

Leinster started the second-half where they left off in the first, with the Ospreys having the ball five metres out from their own try-line Kelleher broke through a ruck, kicked the ball ahead and touched down for his second try of the game while also securing the bonus-point. Byrne hit the post with the difficult kick from the left, but it was 27-0 with four minutes gone in the second-half. 

With half an hour remaining the hooker got in for his hat-trick as the Leinster pack drove forward from a maul off a line-out leaving Kelleher with the simple task of pushing the ball down over the line. Byrne was on target with the kick to give the hosts even more comfort on the scoreboard. 

Another five minutes on and substitute Deegan, who was only on the pitch for three minutes, made a darting run from deep, receiving the ball just in front of the Ospreys line, where he was never going to be stopped and put the ball down for try number six for Leinster. Byrne converted with his final kick of the game as he was replaced by younger brother Harry. 

Less than ten minutes after his introduction and Harry Byrne was in for his first try for Leinster in what was his home debut as he backed himself from close-range and wriggled through for the score. He failed to convert his own try but it was 46-0 with little over ten minutes remaining. 

Six minutes on and fellow home debutant Milne scored his first try for Leinster as he barrelled over from close-range. This time Harry Byrne made no mistake from the tee to make it 53-0. 

The Ospreys got a consolation score a minute later through Luke Morgan after they took a quick line-out inside the Leinster 22, the conversion was missed as they only walked away with the five-pointer. 

Things only got worse for the away side as forward Gareth Evans was sin-binned for a shoulder tackle on McFadden, meaning they would have to play the final minutes with only 14-men. 

Leinster failed to notch up any further scores but it finished 53-5 in favour of the home side as they went to the top of Conference A.

Leinster host Edinburgh next Friday when they will look to continue their winning start to the season, while the Ospreys will hope to bounce-back from this defeat when they welcome Benetton to Wales next Saturday. 

Leinster Player Ratings

Starting XV:

Hugo Keenan (7), Fergus McFadden (7), Rory O’Loughlin (7), Joe Tomane (7), James Lowe (7), Ross Byrne (8), Jamison Gibson-Park (8): Peter Dooley (7), Rónan Kelleher (9), Michael Bent (6), Devin Toner (7), Scott Fardy (8), Josh Murphy (7), Will Connors (8), Caelan Doris (8)

Replacements (9)

Pro14

Zebre Star Receives Small Ban for Biting

Zebre might have claimed a famous away win in the PRO14 last weekend, but it’s not all rosy for the Italian team after one of their players has been handed a ban for biting, although it’s shorter than most would expect

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Zebre No 8 has received a six-week ban after being found guilty of biting an opposition player during last Saturday’s PRO14 clash with the Ospreys.

The 24-year-old was expected to be handed a lengthy ban for an act of foul play that is seriously frowned upon in the sport, but after initially being given a 12-week ban it was cut in half due to his previous disciplinary record, his admission of guilt and his conduct throughout the process. 

All of which means that he will be free to play for the Italian minnows, who enjoyed a memorable away win in Wales, come the 12th of January. 

The four-time capped Italian’s ban comes only a week after the exact same ban that was handed down to La Rochelle’s Pierre Bourgarit, who was caught eye-gouging Sale’s Tom Curry in a Champions Cup fixture. 

Another one of the worst offences in the game and it was reduced from 12 to six weeks, much for the same reasons as Giammarioli. 

Some fans and ex-players will criticise the decision, as it appears a much softer result than in days gone by for offences that could have caused serious harm to opponents.

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Pro14

Dragons Prop Forced to Retire Early

The Dragons have confirmed that one of their players has been forced to retire due to a freak training ground injury

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Dragons prop Jack Cosgrove has decided to retire from rugby due to injury the club have confirmed.

At only 25-years of age Cosgrove has been forced to retire early due to an eye injury that he sustained during a training session back in October. 

Having only joined the Welsh outfit in the summer it is a big blow to Cosgrove and the club wished him all the best in a statement.  

“Everyone at the Dragons wishes Jack every success in his future and he will continue to receive professional help and support from the region as he makes the transition from playing,” the statement read. 

The player had been through specialist treatment and had medical advice which helped him come to his decision.

Cosgrove came through the Worcester Warriors academy in England before he moved on to Edinburgh in 2015. A move to Bristol in 2017 followed, where he won the Championship on his return to England, before a return to Worcester ahead of his final switch to Dragons. 

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Pro14

Ospreys Turn to Ruddock for Morale Boost

The Ospreys have suffered a terrible start to the season but they have turned to a former Grand Slam winner to help change their fortunes

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Former Six Nations Grand Slam winner Mike Ruddock has been brought in by the Ospreys on a short-term contract to try and get their season off the ground.

The former Wales international, who won the Grand Slam in 2005, has joined the Welsh outfit on a temporary basis, for now, with a contract until the end of December. 

Ospreys managing director Andrew Millward is delighted to have him on board. 

“We are delighted to have Mike join us for a month. The coaches and players have all welcomed the decision to draft him in to offer his support and having him play a key role in our review of our rugby operations,” he said. 

Ospreys are currently looking to part ways with head coach Allen Clarke in a legally correct manner. Clarke joined on a three-year contract in April 2018, but the results have been below par since and coaches Matt Sherratt and Carl Hogg will come in to take charge on an interim basis which Ruddock will oversee. 

However, despite the Ospreys claim that Ruddock will come in on a short-term deal, the feeling is that he will take full control once Clarke’s situation is sorted out, with his club Lansdowne adding to that feeling by tweeting that he could stay on after the initial deal. 

“With regret but with our full support, we announce that with immediate effect Mike Ruddock has taken a position with Ospreys to become initially a consultant for a month but may turn into a longer commitment. Mike and Ospreys have kept us fully informed at all times,” the tweet read. 

Ospreys say they are reviewing their whole rugby operation and figuring out what coaches will stay on for the future to try and improve the club. 

The club currently sit joint-bottom of Conference A with Zebre, only being separated by points difference, but Ruddock’s first task will be in the Champions Cup, when the Welsh side face the daunting visit of Racing 92 to Swansea, before the reverse fixture the following week.

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